Hills: Stob Ban
Date: Friday 18th January 2019
Company: Just myself
Distance: 18.4km, Ascent: 975m
Time: 6Hrs 40Mins (including 30 minutes in bothy)

I set off this morning from Fort William towards Corriechoille for an ascent of Stob Ban. On reaching Corriechoille, I drove a further two kilometres up the very rough Lairig track parking a short distance before the locked gate. Once suited and booted I set off walking along the Lairig. From the outset it was windy and bitterly cold. The MWIS forecast suggested -20C windchill above 900m.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

A few minutes after setting off I got a bit of a fright when out of the darkness appeared a figure. The Wee Minister was apparently erected on the path in 2010. The last time I walked this path was in 2007, to ascend Cruach Innse and Sgurr Innse, so this was my first encounter with the Wee Minister. According to the information sign, an original stone statue of the Wee Minister once stood on a nearby site but it was destroyed in the 1970s. The Wee Minister is said to bring good luck to climbers and walkers .

The Wee Minister:

Beyond the statue I followed the track for just over six kilometres to get to the Lairig Leacach bothy. Initially the track had a light covering of soft snow. As I gained more height the track became increasingly icy. I didn't bother with crampons, I just avoided as much of the ice as possible taking care not to slip.

Heading along the Lairig Leacach towards Sgurr Innse:

I was looking forward to seeing the Lairig Leacach bothy again as I last visited it way back in 2003. On entering the bothy I was really impressed with how clean it was inside. Not a mouse dropping in sight!

Inside the Lairig Leacach bothy:

Loved the prayer flags .

Inside the Lairig Leacach bothy:

After spending around fifteen minutes in the bothy I departed to continue my ascent of Stob Ban.

Here comes the sun:

Looking back to the Lairig Leacach bothy, Cruach Innse and Sgurr Innse:

During the initial ascent I stopped to put on my crampons as sections of the path were thick with ice. I could have just avoided walking on the path but given I was carrying crampons it made sense to make use of them.

Looking back to Sgurr Innse during ascent:

Looking back:

On approaching the 760m top the summit of Stob Ban came into view. From a distance the final section looked fairly steep.

Stob Ban:

Although the final section looked steep from a distance once on the final section it was straight-forward.

Final steep ascent of Stob Ban:

Looking back during final ascent:

On reaching the summit I stopped to take several photos and then about-turned to commence my descent. It was too cold to hang around.

At the summit of Stob Ban:

At the summit of Stob Ban:

At the summit of Stob Ban:

View from the summit of Stob Ban:

From the summit I returned via the same route.

Looking back to Stob Ban in descent:

View during descent:

Back onto the Lairig Leacach track:

On reaching the Lairig Leacach bothy I again spent around fifteen minutes in the bothy. It was tempting to stay longer.

Looking back to Stob Ban from the Lairig Leacach bothy:

The final 6.5km walk back to the car seemed to take forever as the ice on the track slowed me down. It was great to reach the car, get the engine started and get some heat. A great but cold day out.